CAD Manager's Q&A: Managing Chaos11 Sep, 2007 By: Robert Green
Sometimes it just seems like everything is in disarray and chaos rules. What can I do to rein in the disorder and get some control over my day?
Robert Green replies: I’ve always felt that the best way to deal with disorder is to call attention to it, get other people on board with you, then work toward a resolution. Chaos won’t simply go away; it has to be managed like any other problem. I’ll pass along a few tips I’ve used to gain some measure of control.
I’d also like to point out that every CAD manager I know has felt this way at some point in their career!
Point out chaos when you see it. Quite often everyone around you has worked in a state of disorder so long that they no longer recognize it, so you need to call attention to it. The next time you see blatant disorder in progress, call the CAD management equivalent of a time-out and say something like this: “I know we don’t have time to fix this problem right now but can everyone see how this disorganization is costing us time and ruining our day? Wouldn’t it make sense to get organized and make this problem go away once and for all?”
Take the lead. Now that you’ve got people’s attention, grab the chance to make some changes in your work processes that will make things better. You’ll never get a better opportunity to change behavior than when everybody agrees there is a problem! As CAD manager, you’re expected to lead -- so take the chance now to demonstrate leadership skills and act.
Set the stage. The next time a big deadline or other chaos-causing event looms ahead at your company, pull your CAD users aside and review some of the chaos-busting ideas you took the lead on. Strive to get agreement that everyone will use these new ideas to avoid a meltdown. Remember, people will revert to old habits unless you help them stick to a new approach. CAD managers are also teachers, so view this as a teachable moment in which you can help users get better work results.
I must admit that I’ve never been able to eliminate chaos and stress in the CAD workplace, but these concepts have helped me to reduce them. And by all means, if you have tips or pointers, e-mail me and I’ll share your thoughts with other CAD managers in an upcoming newsletter.